Shoup on the Wisdom of Eliminating Parking Requirements

Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning, was mentioned in a New York Times opinion piece about the hidden consequences of parking requirements. In his book “The High Cost of Free Parking,” Shoup explained that rules that require developers to include a minimum number of parking spaces increase real estate costs. Furthermore, building more parking lots creates more urban sprawl, making cities less walkable and more car-dependent. Parking lots also exacerbate the effects of global warming by creating urban heat islands that absorb and reflect heat. Shoup has also noted that parking requirements worsen inequality by forcing people who can’t afford to drive a car to still pay for parking infrastructure. “People who are too poor to own a car pay more for their groceries to ensure that richer people can park free when they drive to the store,” Shoup wrote. Now, California is considering legislation that would eliminate or reform minimum parking regulations.

Shoup on What to Do About L.A.’s Cracked Sidewalks

Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning, spoke with NBC4 News about Los Angeles’ backlog of 50,000 complaints about broken sidewalks. An audit last year found that the city pays about $7 million a year to settle injury claims related to sidewalks in disrepair. “In L.A., the sidewalks are a disgrace,” Shoup said. “We could use them as an obstacle course for the 2028 Olympics.” California cities including Pasadena and Oakland have passed “point of sale” ordinances that require homeowners to fix damaged sidewalks in front of their properties when they sell their homes, Shoup said. “People ought to pay for sidewalk repairs when it’s convenient for them and when they have the cash available. And that is at the time of sale.” He added, however, that the sidewalks are currently so dangerous that the city must look for a quicker fix.

Shoup Weighs In on NYC Parking Angst

Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning, spoke to the New York Times about the recent decision to return to twice-a-week street sweeping in New York City. During the pandemic, street sweeping was reduced to once per week as city services were scaled back. Many New Yorkers welcomed the change, which required them to move their cars just once a week, but others complained that the cleanliness of streets across the city declined. Mayor Eric Adams recently announced that twice-weekly street sweeping would resume, and drivers will once again have to move their cars two times a week to avoid a fine. According to Shoup, car owners in the city are still getting a good deal. “Drivers are complaining that they have to move their car, and they’re parking for free on some of the most valuable land on Earth,” Shoup said.

Shoup Recommends Recalibrating Parking Rates Often

Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning, was mentioned in a TAPinto article about the debate surrounding parking permits in Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton created a task force to invite public comment on allocation and pricing of parking permits. The task force is considering an increase in the price of parking and the establishment of a timeline to review parking demand and prices. Shoup has long argued that the price of parking should be adjusted until you have the right balance of occupied and vacant spaces. The article cited Columbus, Ohio, which adopted a parking permit plan based on Shoup’s recommendations. The Columbus system recalibrates parking rates every three months to balance supply and demand. It also uses a license plate recognition system to enforce paid parking and identify open parking spaces in real time.

On the Decline and Fall of Parking Requirements

A StreetsBlog article about the evolution of mandatory parking requirements noted that recommendations put forward long ago by Distinguished Research Professor of Urban Planning Donald Shoup are now gaining wide acceptance. Shoup recommended removing off-street parking requirements, allowing developers and businesses to decide how many parking spaces to provide for their customers. He also recommended pricing on-street parking so that one or two spaces will always be left open in order to avoid parking shortages. Finally, he suggested spending parking revenue on public service projects on the metered streets, which would help increase the popularity of demand-based pricing. Many local governments are taking these recommendations seriously and implementing changes. The article cited Associate Professor of Urban Planning Michael Manville‘s research on San Diego’s 2019 decision to stop requiring parking for housing near transit, which helped make affordable housing projects more economically viable. As Shoup predicted, parking requirements are quickly being eliminated across the United States.

Shoup on How to Improve Sidewalk Accessibility

Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning, authored a Bloomberg CityLab article about the slow progress to repair broken sidewalks in Los Angeles. Roughly 40% of L.A. sidewalks are broken, a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to a 2016 class-action lawsuit won by disability rights advocates. Los Angeles is required to spend $1.4 billion over 30 years to fix its sidewalks, but in the first five years of the program, less than 1% have been repaired. “Fortunately, there’s a simple way to ensure that sidewalks will be accessible,” Shoup wrote. “Cities can require that the sidewalk abutting any property must comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act when the property is sold.” Property owners would not have to pay or do anything until they sell their property, and the city can subsidize sidewalk repairs for low-income owners. “A pay-on-exit program may be the fairest and most politically painless way to keep sidewalks accessible,” Shoup concluded.

Faculty Reported Among Top 2% in Scholarly Citations

Eighteen faculty members affiliated with UCLA Luskin are included in a listing of the top 2% for scholarly citations worldwide in their respective fields as determined by an annual study co-produced by Stanford University researchers. The 2021 report is a publicly available database that identifies more than 100,000 top researchers and includes updates through citation year 2020. The lists and explanations of study methodology can be found on Elsevier BV, and an article about the study was published by PLOS Biology. Separate data sets are available for career-long and single-year impact. The researchers are classified into 22 scientific fields and 176 subfields, with field- and subfield-specific percentiles provided for all researchers who have published at least five papers. The following current and past scholars with a UCLA Luskin connection met the study’s criteria to be included among the most-cited scholars:

Laura Abrams

Ron Avi Astor

Evelyn Blumenberg

Randall Crane

Dana Cuff

Yeheskel Hasenfeld (deceased)

Aurora P. Jackson

Duncan Lindsey

Susanne Lohmann

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

Thomas Rice

Ananya Roy

Robert Schilling

Donald Shoup

Michael Storper

Brian Taylor

John Villasenor

Martin Wachs (deceased)


All Parking Is Political, Shoup Says

Distinguished Research Professor of Urban Planning Donald Shoup was featured in a Bloomberg article arguing for the abolition of free parking. According to Shoup, drivers are subsidized at the expense of everyone else, and there is “no such thing as free parking.” He proposed pricing street parking according to market value, including desirability of the space, time of day and the number of open spots. Then, he suggested spending the revenue from street parking to better the surrounding neighborhoods. Parking is the most obvious way to make progress on issues including affordable housing, global warming, gender equity and systemic racism, Shoup said. Now, the pandemic has challenged modern notions about parking in America, with many parking lots converted into restaurant spaces and dramatic decreases in traffic. Shoup sees this as an opportunity to facilitate a dialogue about parking in order to make cities more equitable, affordable and environmentally conscious. “All parking is political,” he concluded.

In Memoriam: Leland S. Burns, Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning Scholar of housing economics and policy, both domestic and international, often focused on low-income housing

By Stan Paul

Leland S. Burns, UCLA emeritus professor of urban planning and a preeminent scholar of housing economics and policy, passed away at his home in Santa Monica on May 16, 2021. He was 87.

Burns, who came to UCLA seven decades before as an undergraduate student, became renowned in the United States and internationally for his work and research, which often focused on low-income housing. He was a prolific author of influential books in his field and published “The Housing of Nations” in 1977 with the late Leo Grebler, a UCLA professor of urban land economics who is considered the father of modern housing economics and housing policy.

“The book was the first international, econometric study of housing and led to much further research on the topic,” said Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and a longtime friend and colleague of Burns.

Other notable titles during Burns’ long and productive career include “The Future of Housing Markets, a New Appraisal” (1986), also co-written with Grebler, and “The Art of Planning: Selected Essays of Harvey S. Perloff ” (1985), co-edited with John Friedmann.

Burns was born in Osage, Iowa, in 1933 and came to UCLA in 1951, earning a bachelor’s in business administration in 1955, followed by an MBA in 1957. He was a Fulbright Scholar in the Netherlands and completed his Ph.D. in economics in 1961 from the Netherlands School of Economics, now Erasmus University, in Rotterdam. The same year he began teaching urban land economics at what is now the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

He later became one of the first faculty members in UCLA’s newly formed Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, where the late Harvey Perloff became dean in 1968. There, Burns held a number of leadership positions, including associate dean from 1969 to 1971 and again in 1986 as acting associate dean. He also held numerous UCLA and departmental academic administration and advisory posts, including membership on UCLA’s Committee on Academic Personnel.

Burns had a close association with Cambridge University, where he lectured for 10 years in the Department of Land Economy and was a research scholar for three decades. At Cambridge, he was a Fellow Commoner of St. Edmunds College. Throughout his career, he also held a number of research and visiting scholar appointments at institutions such as UC Berkeley and at universities in Austria, Scotland and Japan.

Burns also served as a consultant and member of numerous public agencies, commissions and boards. They include the U.S. Public Health Service, the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

He served as a consultant to the Los Angeles Regional Transportation Study for the California State Division of Highways, as well as on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Committee on Urban Housing. Other appointments included the Economic Commission for Europe, Economic and Social Council, United Nations, Geneva; the Office of Planning and Research of the Governor of the State of California; the Coastal Conservancy; and many other government and civic entities.

He was a referee for several academic publications, including American Economic Review, Urban Studies and California Management Review, plus manuscripts for the University of California Press. From 1983-89 he was the associate editor of Urban Studies and served on the editorial board for many years.

Another of Burns’ many achievements was the house he had built in Santa Monica Canyon in 1974, Shoup said. Burns commissioned internationally renowned architect Charles Moore, who was then chair of UCLA’s Architecture Department, to design the house

“An outstanding feature of the house is the baroque pipe organ that Lee played well and often,” Shoup said, adding, “Lee was a fine musician and was connected in musical circles in the United States and Europe.”

Burn was a former colleague and friend of Dolores Hayden, professor emerita of architecture, urbanism and American studies at Yale who also formerly taught at UCLA. “He was always ready to talk through a research question about economics, planning or design.”

Students who were advised by and studied as master’s and doctoral students with Burns went on to become leaders in and out of the field of urban planning. He was doctoral dissertation chair for Kathleen M. Connell Ph.D. UP ’87, who was elected as California state controller in 1995.

He also served as academic advisor to Bish Sanyal Ph.D. UP ’84, who went on to work at the World Bank and is now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sanyal said that Burns’ “mentorship, generosity and friendship” played a large part in his professional career, which includes serving as head of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and later as chair of the entire MIT faculty.

“I will miss Lee, and will remember his gentle smile — but rigorous professional standards — which helped me become who I am today,” Sanyal said.

A Case for Removing Minimum Parking Requirements

A Los Angeles Daily News op-ed written by UCLA doctoral student Nolan Gray featured Urban Planning faculty members Donald Shoup and Michael Manville. The piece focused on minimum parking requirements mandating that homes, offices and shops include parking spaces, as well as on Assembly Bill 1401, which would prohibit California cities from imposing these requirements within half a mile of transit — an area where residents, shoppers and employees are least likely to drive. Nolan pointed out that developers already have an incentive to include parking in order to lease or sell a space. Shoup noted that minimum parking requirements are a key culprit in the state’s affordable housing crisis because the cost of including parking gets added to rent and mortgages. Manville added that providing off-road parking is associated with a 27% increase in vehicle miles traveled and a significant increase in emissions, since people are encouraged to buy and drive cars instead of choosing more sustainable transportation options.